UAE Space Agency in co-operation deal with Italy's ASI

ABU DHABI, 26th January 2016 (WAM) — The UAE Space Agency has signed a deal with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to strengthen joint strategic co-operation between the two agencies in the short and long terms.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed during a visit made this week by a high-level delegation, including representatives from ASI and the Italian Embassy in the UAE, who met with key actors in the UAE space sector, said a statement.

The visit complemented the terms of the agreement approved by the two sides during a visit made by the UAE Space Agency to ASI last year shortly after the founding of the agency, it said.

The MoU seeks to promote co-operation in various aspects of space exploration, including space science, technology, services, and applications, as well as the exchange of space experiences, studies, and research.

In addition to this, the MoU encourages holding visits, scientific conferences and lectures, and training and rehabilitation sessions for specialised staff, all of which contributes positively to supporting the space programs in the two countries.

Dr Khalifa Al Rumaithi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The UAE and Italy have longstanding business and co-operation relations in various sectors and areas, and this cooperation in the space sector further reinforces the relationship between the two countries.

“We are pleased to welcome the Italian Space Agency to the UAE and introduce it to the UAE space sector and the main actors in it.

“The MoU falls within the framework of the strategic targets of the UAE Space Agency. These targets are aimed at building and developing global partnerships that can contribute to supporting the Agency’s various programs, namely in the field of space exploration, and the training and rehabilitation of specialist cadres in the space sector”

“We discussed with our Italian counterparts opportunities to develop aspects of cooperation in areas of common interest and future prospects. These will benefit the state’s space exploration program considering the vast experience and long history of the Italian Space Agency in this field,” Dr Al Rumaithi added.

Professor Roberto Battiston, president of the ASI, said: “We met in Italy last year to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation and partnership between the two sides in the space field. I am pleased that we were able to achieve this on the ground and that today marks the launch of this vital co-operation.

“We were introduced today to the UAE’s ambitious space programme. We are proud to be partners with the UAE in achieving its objectives in this sector.”

Meanwhile, the meeting included a detailed presentation on the UAE space sector and the state’s strategy, objectives, initiatives, and programmes in this field, in addition to the strategic priorities for the next phase.

The details of the educational and master’s programmes that have been launched in co-operation with a number of universities and specialised institutes in the UAE and abroad were given.

The presentation stressed on the importance of developing local human resources in the space sector and allowing them to advance on the professional level, which is a key priority for the agency, and which will help achieve its objectives in the long term.

It talked about the ‘Hope Probe’ mission to Planet Mars, an Emirati international project aimed at serving all humankind. The project was widely welcomed by the attendees.

The presentation, by Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency, spoke about the reasons behind the UAE entering the space sector despite the challenges.

He considered the sector to be a bridge for the future and a platform for innovations and to encourage students to pursue STEM education.